By G.A.Ponsonby

If Pat Lally has a daughter-in-law then she’s probably hoping the brouhaha over Campbell Gunn’s email blows over soon so that she can come out of hiding.

I’ve watched the latest media circus with a wry smile as yet another one of my end-of-year predictions comes true.

Campbell Gunn is a name that few out-with the political arena would have heard of, so too Clare Lally.  But anyone who has picked up a paper or turned on a TV or radio this week will know that these two people are at the centre of a quite extraordinary media frenzy.

Let’s get one thing straight before going any further.  Campbell Gunn’s email to a Telegraph journalist was ill-judged.  Not because Clare Lally isn’t Pat Lally’s daughter-in-law, but because there was no need for it.

Better Together was busy tearing itself apart with Brown resurrecting his legendary sulk and taking swipes at his No colleagues.  Darling had gaffed badly with his appalling interview which implied a Nazi style culture at the heart of the SNP.

If ever there was a time to stand back and watch the anti-independence campaign self-destruct then it was now.

That said, I can well understand why Gunn – a top quality journalist – may have felt frustrated at the portrayal of Clare Lally as an ‘ordinary mum’.

Lally described herself in just such a fashion at last week’s Better Together event.  But she was being less than honest, as were the reporters who duly portrayed her using similar terms.

Most people of course would equate ‘ordinary’ with someone who has no significant political links with any party or organisation.

Lally of course was anything but ordinary we have now learned.  She appears to have had contact with top officials within the Labour party for several years.  In 2011 she introduced onto the stage at a party event, current Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont.

Moreover, Lally has been a member of the Scottish Labour Shadow cabinet for fully two years.

No-one is suggesting that this hard working mum should not be allowed to campaign on behalf of Labour or Better Together, but nobody from the No campaign has admitted Ms Lally rather misrepresented her own political situation.

An ‘ordinary’ mum would have accepted Campbell Gunn’s gracious and unreserved apology with good grace.  Lally publicly rejected the offer and then went on national TV to complain, allowing her children to be filmed in the process.

The issue has of course allowed the usual suspects to resurrect one of the Unionists most oft repeated canards regarding the referendum – that only independence supporters indulge in online abuse.

It’s a lie of course and they know it.  But Unionists own and control the media and they set the news agenda.  It helps the No campaign if they can destroy the debate and present the actions of an insignificant minority from both sides as coming from only one side.

The SNP provide so little by way of political blunders and inappropriate comment that the so-called ‘cybernats’ are their only source of material.

When a chink appears in the armour of the Scottish Government, the media send in everything they’ve got.  They become so fixated on their SNP prey that they lose all sense of proportion – the story eats itself and grows.

Thus, an email which mistook Lally as a relative of a former Glasgow Provost of the same name explodes super-nova like, generating more heat than its mass initially contained.  The whole media machine gorges on the energy, consuming each another’s exaggerated interpretations of actuality they create an ever increasing self-confirming circle.

Blinded by the light and fixated utterly on the hype of their own creation, the media are rendered incapable of employing logic and reason to provide a check to the ever fantastical claims by pro-union figures.

I watched and listened as serving Labour and Conservative MPs and MSPs levelled quite extraordinary, some extreme, accusations against the First Minister.

Margaret Curran was banshee like as she accused Alex Salmond of having orchestrated online attacks against pro-Union figures.  Johann Lamont made a similar accusation in the Holyrood chamber.

Former advisor to Tony Blair, John McTernan, launched a similar attack against Herald journalist Iain MacWhirter on STV.  The aforementioned Margaret Curran attacked the reporter online, accusing him of misogyny.

The reporting has been awful, with the BBC as expected right at the heart.  The result of this misreporting by the media is that Yes supporters are now being portrayed as somehow less than normal, a threat to society… we are illegitimate.

There is an attempt at depicting the Yes movement as an almost terrorist like organisation, seeking out opponents online and issuing threats.  The head of this mythical new terrorist beast, whose sole aim is to silence dissent, is Alex Salmond.

If Salmond is to be depicted as orchestrating a campaign of online terrorism then by extension, since the BBC and others depict the Yes movement as his movement then we are all now terrorists.

This of course is the aim of the British nationalist media, to try to persuade ordinary Scots that the independence movement is built on fear and intimidation. It’s an extension of Alistair Darling’s linking of the SNP to Nazism and the portrayal of Salmond by Darling and others as a dictator.

The irony of course is that people are now afraid to voice their opinions in the feral atmosphere.

But it isn’t No campaigners who are reluctant to voice concerns.  It is not the British nationalists who face being attacked, vilified and demonised by the pro-Union media if they dare question the tactics of the ultra-British Nationalists who are leading the No campaign.

This week marked a change in the referendum campaign.  It marked the turning point for the ultra-British nationalists who control our media.

The Yes movement is being demonised.  Those of us who back independence are being portrayed as intolerant and devoid of normal human traits.

We are not to be trusted.  We are dangerous and a threat to ‘normal’ people.

We are now officially less than them.

They have been patient with us.

They will now deal with us.


2014-06-13 06:56

But you can’t help feeling sorry for them, despite the despicable nature of their behaviour. You feel that they are even more damaged by their own delusions than those of us who have the temerity to aspire to normal levels of self government for our country.
2014-06-13 06:58

I watched the opening game of the World Cup last night and something struck me.

A referee is there to adjudicate and see fair play.If he wasn’t involved it would descend into a farce.Similarly when he appears to favour one side over another.And when the ref is so blatant in his preference it creates animosity,anger and outrage.

The media is meant to fulfil the same role in informing us of Govt.

We have no impartial referees in the mainstream media.
2014-06-13 07:14

What dismays me most about this affair is that any SNP/Yes adviser/press officer should waste campaigning time and energy revealing that a minor No speaker/campaigner’s background has any relevance to the referendum debate. What we want from the Yes side is substantive debate and information rather that tactics which might, just possibly, raise a cheer at the school debating society.
2014-06-13 08:57

You miss the point.

Gunn was highlighting the fact they were printing misinformation again.He’s probably emailed them on numerous occasions about similar lies.The problem this time is it was a “Honey Trap”.If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology,che  ck out SiS tactics on gaining info from foreign dignitaries.

Auld Rock
2014-06-13 08:20

I’ve said this before, the said Ms. Lally has insulted me and every other ‘YES’ supporter by calling us ‘FOOLS’. But Ms. Lally should get real and as Jim Sillars said on Bettertogether Broadcasting Corporation,”If you choose to fly wae the craws then expect to get shot wae the craws!!!”

Auld Rock
2014-06-13 08:47

The best tonic for the poisonous media is the progressive and constructive case for independence.
How many accidents are caused when rubber neckers drive by a previous incident? Don’t let ourselves be drawn into trading insults. We have no need for it.
Ask yourself why the media has so much energy to conflate this issue out of all proportion, but yet the vast bulk of pro-independence conversation needs public forums and doorstep discussions just to get the arguments across.

We have the hardest job, but it’s an honest living, and in spite of everything, we have the forward momentum.
From The Suburbs
2014-06-13 09:03

Why did the Telegraph breach normal journalistic protocol by releasing the content of Campbell Gunn’s email?

They would never do that when a UK government adviser approaches them regarding factual errors in a story.

However Mr Gunn must have been naive to think that the normal rules apply the anti
Scottish independence media.
2014-06-13 10:12

Because it was Cochrane ?
A man known only for attacking Alex Salmond and one who will ” be on the last train out of Edinburgh” should the peole vote YES. Why the last train and not the first – after all he has a choice of houses elsewhere , allegedly.

Mr Gunn should have been well aware of the churnalists habits.

2014-06-13 09:32

We’re the wee folk.The entire British state is against us.COOL!!
2014-06-13 09:44

Truth is a little meant word. Perhaps if Ms Lally had subjected the media to more of it when she stood to champion mothers and carers instead of letting us believe she was a normal apolitical woman. Perhaps if the media had told the truth, they must have known who she was. Perhaps if Mr Gunn had not sent a “private mail to a journalist! As to internet trolls, they can be easily found and if ploice are brought in prosecuted, why then have these abusive internet comments not been published or at least passed over to the police for actioning.
As for Ms Rowling, she can donate to who she wishes to but why should any donor be given widespread media coverage. She is not a polititian, she worked hard and produced a series of books. I don’t think that makes her any more relevant then me as to how the Scottish people vote. As for abuse to her, I may be wrong but did she not get troll abuse when she announced the ending of the Potter books?
2014-06-13 10:02

Quote Article:

They will now deal with us.

Is there anything to be gained by this approach.
We are winning. The polls are going in our direction. Why risk putting activists off?
2014-06-13 12:19

agreed. The wry tongue in cheek sarcasm approach is not a very good idea at the moment. Stay frosty, stay positive, ignore bullshit.

Dundonian West
2014-06-13 10:14

Jackie Baillie MSP welcomes Clare into Scottish Shadow Cabinet.
“I am delighted to have someone from West Dunbartonshire on /labour’s Shadow Cabinet.”…/
OT. I’ll be voting Yes in September and I’m not a member or supporter of any political party.
Robert Louis
2014-06-13 10:26

It is clear, that there is NO positive case for the union, or else the BBC would be chrunging it out 24/7, so all the anti independence campaign has left are smears.

This is all designed to distract and disrupt the independence campaign, so the people of Better Together do not have to explain their policies (or distinct lack of them).

Let’s not let these people distract us, we have the winning arguments, and the referendum can be won. Leave the petty sniping to the anti independence campaign.
2014-06-13 10:31

Too much valuable time is being spent playing to the unionists agenda of smokescreens and diversions when YES supporters should be focussed entirely on proving the case that Scotland can be a far better place without Westminster ruling over us.

YES supporting social media websites should be responding to the growing interest in these websites by flooding their pages each day with the overwhelming reasons why we should vote YES.
2014-06-13 15:35

Well said Marian
We must stay calm and focus on the prize. We have a positive message to tell so let’s keep telling it and not be distracted by BT or the media. We should expect anything that comes our way and respond calmly, as Annabelle Ewing did yesterday, and smile sweetly back.

2014-06-13 10:58

I think First Minister Alex Salmond’s measured response to Lamont’s and Davidson’s hysterical accusations at FMQs was commendable. He effectively and incisively defended Campbell Gunn and rebutted their allegations of “abuse” and their attempts to claim he himself was orchestrating “cybernat” attacks personally from Bute House!

Well done First Minister for refusing to sacrifice Mr.Gunn in order to cover your political back, so to speak, from these contrived smears and attacks on you personally. A pity you didn’t challenge Ruth Davidson in particular as to when she would be sacking her MSP Alex Johnston for his recent personal attacks on Chris and Colin Weir, over their donations to the SNP and the YES Campaign.
2014-06-13 16:08

Yes, very well done too in reminding them both of the fulsome praise they both heaped on Mr Gunn just over a year ago.

2014-06-13 11:55

Ed Miliband says sorry after posing with The Sun

I wonder if Lamont will bring this up with A Salmond
2014-06-13 15:54

BT are now NT (Not Together) or as they prefer No Thanks.
They are desperately trying to distract attention from the fact that they are only united in their desire to deny Scots the right to elect a government of our choice.
If this the best they can up with,then their campaign is in deep trouble.
2014-06-13 16:00

Yet again, the No campaign’s rancid behaviour in this matter is projected onto Alec Salmond and the YES campaign. I wonder how much longer they can avoid taking a good look in the mirror and discovering the morally bankrupt world they exist in.
2014-06-13 17:25


Now that the latest series of HIGNFY has finished I see that the anti-Scottish Independence jokes have migrated to the new series of Mock The Week.

One has to hand it to The BBC – they never miss a trick when it comes to Unionist Propaganda.
2014-06-13 19:32

This whole charade is being executed by the MSM and the BBC in particular.
It was clear from the start that the BBC felt a sense of entitlement, equalled (if not exceeded) by the Labour Party North British Branch, and would not brook interference in their plans for Scotland. We know for a fact, and lots of experience, that many of the Labour lot don’t have the brains they were born with, Alistair Darling may have managed to convince a loyal few of his standing, but he has turned out to be a complete dud. (to be continued)
2014-06-13 19:47

What we now have is one of the most arrogant, mean-spirited, visceral spokespersons you would ever have the misfortune to cross (and I mean that in every sense of the word) Blair Underwood!! He has managed to orchestrate outrage by twisting the words which were actually in print (Miss Lally used the same words over 6 times in the course of one interview; – “so I’m not a normal Mum”. The inference was clear, to anyone with the power of logical thought.
I’m a woman teetering on the brink of being 60 years old, I am not unused to colourful language, but I sincerely hope I don’t have to read too many more profane and disturbing (if not disturbed) responses when I post. All we can do is dig in and wait for the bitterness of a group of people who think they are acting for the benefit of the Union, to abate. And pray there are no more bad judgement calls.
2014-06-13 19:51

Westminster’s representatives at Holyroods chamber once again ignored Scotland’s goverance in favour of collectively pursuing another opportunity to deploy playground tactics in the chamber. FMQ’s should not have given three party leaders the platform to express their own vile attacks on Campbell Gunn. What hypocracy.
2014-06-13 22:31

I think the FM made a slight mistake by saying that it was a misjudgement
to highlight her labour party connections, when this was the underlying issue – not the case of mistaken identity.

There is a BIG difference.. when you come to a ‘Better Together’ event with an agenda as a hardcore political activist, yet are implying – from the point of view of a ordinary person – that the independent Scottish NHS is safer under the union.

No-one was attacking Ms Lally as a woman or as a carer.
It was for misrepresentati  on.

Most people would consider it a fuss over nothing once the true facts came out.

It was unfortunate that the news drowned out the encouraging results of the recent poll.

And it is ironic that this story comes soon after the SNP pledged an increase in carer’s allowance in an independent Scotland.

Far better to spend money on carers than on Trident bombs.
2014-06-14 04:54

Is it not amazing that not a single member of our wonderfully unbiased broadcast and print media has taken the trouble to speak to Pat Lally and discover what he thinks of the fact that the suggestion that a person is related to him is somehow a slur on said person’s character.

Is it not also amazing that none of the media who attended monday’s Project Fear Rally was not aware who Clare Lally was and that far from being ‘an ordinary Clydebank housewife’ she was actually a well known Labour activist of several years and a member of Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet. Anybody who believes that none of them were aware of her background is extremely naive – instead they all gleefully allowed the deceptive presentation of Little Miss Innocent to be splashed all over the broadcast and print media.

Is it any wonder that Campbell Gunn then sought to clarify the situation albeit getting Lally’s relationship with Pat Lally wrong – just doing his job.
2014-06-14 05:07

Has anyone who has commented actually read the last few lines of Mr Ponsonby’s article ?

“The Yes movement is being demonised. Those of us who back independence are being portrayed as intolerant and devoid of normal human traits.

We are not to be trusted. We are dangerous and a threat to ‘normal’ people.

We are now officially less than them.

They have been patient with us.

They will now deal with us.”

We are now like the separatists that we daily hear about in the Independence movement in the Ukraine who are unwilling to live under an illegal, unelected right wing “government” set up by the US. I do hope we don’t have any troops or helicopter gunships coming our way. Oh. Wait a minute…
2014-06-14 08:48

Quoting Robert Louis:

It is clear, that there is NO positive case for the union, or else the BBC would be chrunging it out 24/7

True, but yesterday they did report the viceroy’s latest £720K project to send it to every home in Scotland – see…/…

The full “What staying in the United Kingdom means for Scotland” booklet itself is available in PDF form from…/…

It’s a 9-page Janet & John picture book compilation repeating most of the recent scare stories. Hard to see it will convince anyone capable of reading it, but it may just influence anyone who thinks the BBC is unbiased.

2014-06-14 13:50

BBC parliament channel moves the FMQ slot all over the place but when I found it yesterday I witnessed yet again the hounding of Alex Salmond over the alleged nasty internet bloggers. It was obvious the three opposition parties had a meeting to plan the attack. Week on week they try to weaken him. He rises to it and destroys their accusations.
The FM didn’t have to explain anything yesterday but tell them NO.
The opposition are a useless mendacious bunch.

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